With daylight savings time just behind us, we are keenly aware that there are many dark and rainy months ahead of us. For pedestrians and cyclists alike, this is also a time to take extra precautions to stay safe when sharing the road with motor vehicles.
Below are seven key tips to stay safe while walking, jogging or cycling in the colder months. However, if you or a loved one is a pedestrian, cyclist, passenger or driver injured from a motor vehicle accident, you should contact a trusted personal injury lawyer in Surrey for advice right away.
Tip # 1 – Plan Your Route
Even before you leave the house, it is important before setting out on a long walk, jog or cycling trip that you plan your route to and from your destination(s). As part of planning the route, it is critical to be aware of potential hazards or risks along the way such as pot holes, icy spots, puddles, poorly lit areas, and construction zones, and to avoid these where possible. It is also important that cyclists ride on the road instead of the sidewalk and that pedestrians walk on the side of the road facing traffic if there is no sidewalk.
Tip # 2 – Dress Appropriately
As part of your preparations, make sure you dress appropriately. You should wear clothes that protect you from the elements whether it is warm clothing to protect against frostbite, sunglasses to protect against glare that can impair your vision or clothing with reflective strips to ensure visibility especially when travelling in the evening or early morning.
Part of dressing appropriately is ensuring the appropriate footwear to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents and, if you are cycling, rollerblading or skateboarding, make sure you have a helmet and the proper protective gear.
Tip # 3 – Travel as a Group
Another potential safety precaution is engaging in your activities as a group. Whether it is cycling, running or walking, doing in these activities in a group is a great way to meet or stay in touch with friends, get exercise and fresh air in the colder months and stay safe. It is easier for others to see you when you are traveling in pairs or a group than when you travel alone.
Tip # 4 – Stay in Well Lit Areas
As part of planning the route, it is important that during your trip that you stay in the right places. Regardless of the type of exercises, if you are walking, cycling or running and it is dark out you should stay in well-lit areas. You should avoid places where you cannot be seen by motorists sharing the road or where potential perpetrators can hide, such as trails or poorly lit parks.
Tip # 5 – Keep Hydrated
While the temperature may be lower and you may be cooler, it is important that you stay hydrated while exercising. Having enough water will make sure you can power through your run, walk or ride safely.
Tip # 6 – Bring Supplies
To ensure visibility, you should consider using light flashers or bringing a small flashlight or wearing a headlamp. If you are riding a bike after dark, be sure it has a headlight and a blinking red rear light, so that drivers can see you.
Tip # 7 – Obey Traffic Signals, Rules of the Road and Be Aware of Your Surroundings
The most important tip for staying safe is being aware of your surroundings at all times and assessing the risks and proceeding cautiously. As will be evident from the case below, in addition to the obligation to obey traffic signals and the rules of the road, all pedestrians (and cyclists too) have a common law duty to use care for their own safety at all times.
Tips in Practice
Being aware of your surroundings is one of the most important tips to stay safe. In Paskall v. Scheithauer, 2014 BCCA 26 (CanLII), the plaintiff, who suffered from cerebral palsy, was injured when she was struck by an automobile while crossing a street in a marked crosswalk. She contended she crossed the intersection with care, yet there was some evidence to the contrary that she did not properly look for oncoming traffic when she was half way across the intersection. Ms. Paskall sustained serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury.
Because of the lack of care in crossing the intersection, the jury found Ms. Paskall to be twenty percent at fault. The jury awarded her non-pecuniary damages of $35,000, special damages of $10,138, $1,100 for past wage loss, nothing for loss of future earning capacity and $36,100 for costs of future care, which the jury rounded to a total of $82,400. Had Ms. Paskall taken the greater precautions, she may not have been apportioned any liability and she may have avoided the accident altogether.
Contact a Cycling & Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Surrey If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one is a pedestrian, passenger, driver, cyclist or jogger who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should contact a trusted personal injury lawyer in Surrey for advice right away.
At Spraggs & Co., we specialize in assisting those injured in motor vehicle accidents and provide other injury-related legal services. Contact us at 1-866-939-3339.